Category: Chen yile

“I love how gymnastics is expanding. In the 2012 all around final, 8 of the top 9 gymnasts were from the big four countries (USA, Russia, China, Romania). In the 2018 world all around final, the top 8 gymnasts were from 7 different countries.”

Chen Yile training and recovering, January 2019. 

Fan Yilin and Chen Yile – Winter Training 2019

“i feel so bad that chen yile had a full on panic attack/sleep walking episode the night before worlds 2018 team finals. it just shows how extreme the pressure and burden on her.”


In chinese gym fan circles, people often joke that Chen Yile is “the best painter among gymnasts and the best gymnast among painters”. Artistic on the floor and with a pen, she loves designing leos, artistic outlets like drawing and sculpting are the sixteen-year-old’s favorite past times and de-stressors. Chinese gymnasts, even in Chinese-language media, often hold the stereotype of timid girls who are allowed to hold little interest outside of their sport, and people unfamiliar with Chen Yile are often shocked by the skill and creativity displayed in her art.

Her favorite subject is the starlit sky, and her best works often depict all kinds of night skies, filled with stars and the beautiful things under the stars. “Because the stars and the sky are especially beautiful,” she explains, “whenever I see the night sky, my heart calms and I am at peace. If I don’t have anything to do, I draw the night sky to pass time, it makes me happy just looking at the stars.”

Gymnastic training are scheduled from Monday to Saturday, and the girls have Sunday to themselves. Chen Yile gave all her free time to her paint brushes. In the morning, she would get up from bed and break out a blank new canvas, take out all the different paint colors, and pick up her brush. She’d spend the whole day painting, and sometimes, even encourage her teammates in the same coaching group to paint with her.

The coaches are very supportive of Chen Yile’s hobby, and would always frame each one of her works and hang it in the dorm’s common area.

“The walls are pretty much all full now, it’s like I have my own personal gallery,” smiling brightly, Lele talks about her art with pride.

Coming to Doha for the World Championships, her art supplies are too heavy to bring along with her, so a ballpoint pen became her only tool. Whenever she’s free, she’d sketch in her notebook, and when she’s stressed out or feeling the pressure, she’d find some time to draw as well.

Born in Ganzhou of the Jingxi province, Chen Yile started her gymnastics journey at the age of five. Her talents were quickly uncovered by her coaches, and she raised through the ranks of Jiangxi Provincial Team, Guangzhou City Team, and Guangdong Provincial Team. She entered the National Team in 2017 and was taken under the wings of Wang Qunce and Xu Jinglei. She took second-place all-around in the 2017 National Championships, and became the National AA Champion in September of 2017, during the 13th National Games—a competition often treated with equal importance as the Olympics in China. She also took second place for beam and floor. 2018 started as a good year for her, from the podium of Melbourne to Jakarta, she remained consistent and clinched gold on her strong events.

As a sixteen-year-old, this is the first year she’s competing as a senior, and to compete at Worlds for her first senior year, she is immeasurably lucky among many of her peers. However, the amount of pressure on her shoulders is also immeasurable. How stressed out was she? When interviewed by Che Li—a familiar face for Chinese gymnasts as a journalist who covered gymnastics for many years—she revealed a small secret: before the night of qualifications, she suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, and when she opened her eyes, half-asleep, she saw spiders big and small crawling all over her comforter, her bed, and even the walls. Like any other girl her age (or older, let’s be honest) deathly afraid of spiders and roaches, Yile jumped off her bed screaming and crawled into her roommate (and teammate on both the Guangdong Provincial Team and National Team coaching group), Liu Tingting’s bed.

“Sis Tingting, there are spiders!” she told her “big sister” Tingting while hiding under Tingting’s blanket, and Liu, who was woken up by the commotion, patiently comforted her while she was too scared to open her eyes.

“After, I think, ten minutes?  Tingting finally convinced me there are no spiders and I gathered enough courage to open my eyes and see that I was just dreaming.” When Yile retold her experience, to her, it now seemed like a funny story, but adults who were listening were heartbroken for the amount of pressure she put herself under.

It’s clear from her performance during qualifications and the team final that her nerves got the better of her, “I keep telling myself not to be nervous, but I can’t seem to control my body.”

“She’s such a responsible kid that she thinks too much when there are people depending on her,” Chen’s coach, Xu Jinglei, explained, “and she’s afraid of letting the team down.”

When she was able to put the team aside, in the all-around competition, Chen Yile was able to let go of her nerves. “I’m only out there representing myself and not the team, and it didn’t matter whether or not I do well or not, there was no pressure,” unsurprisingly, she performed admirably in a deep field of competitors, many of whom are more experienced than her.

A year ago, Yile never even thought she would be competing at worlds, “to see the world” has been a dream of hers. Now, she’s seen the world, and she’s been to Worlds.

She experienced failure due to nerves, and the growth from picking herself from each error, and for her future, she remains optimistic, “next time, I will definitely do better.”

Inside and outside of the area, Chen Yile ran into many friendly faces of her competitors. When asked for a photo together, she always produces her brightest smile.

“How do you say congratulations in English?” she asked a member of the Chinese press.


Congratulations!” she repeated the word twice, her smile even wider when she got the hang of it. “I got it. Next time, I’ll be able to tell them congratulations.”

Information credits to 体操Wifi


Chen Yile- BB training 2018 Worlds Doha

If she can finish triple twisting as her landing, she will upgrade her routine to 6.6!!! 


Chen Yile training on September 18th for the 2018 World Championships (x)


Chen Yile during qualifications and team final respectively at the 2018 Asian Games

Source: CGA


Chen Yile and Zhang Jin during the balance beam final at the 2018 Asian Games



Chen Yile on beam during event finals at the 2018 Asian Games (x)